LG 55LM7600 Review
55" Cinema 3D 1080p LED HDTV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
- Neoteric Cool Window Design with .2” wide framing bezel
- The Clear Coat screen on this LED is really amazing
- Side Angle, Off center Viewing Quality is very good compared to previous models.
- Deep Black Bars top and bottom on 16:9 content
- Easy 3D viewing with passive 3D
- Colors natural and not overblown
- 240Hz Trumotion with fast action, sports
- Premium Apps offering is good and built in Web browser and Wifi are easy to use with the Magic Remote
- Sound Quality impressed us – which is rare for thin LED TVs. The volume this TV will put out is up there and there is good definition – much improved over 2011s offerings
- Some may not like the “floating” stand.
- Black levels were good but not the best we have seen
- There is a good deal of screen reflection from the glossy clear coat screen from in-room lighting – especially from side angles
- 3D viewing not as deep as with active
- Many Premium Apps from LGs Smart TV(You Tube, NBA Game Time, Picasa etc. are worthwhile while many or most of the proprietary Apps from LG are worthless
- Magic Remote has its positives and negatives. It takes a little getting used to, but can also speed up browsing
Picture Quality: 9/10
Although the 55LM7600 does not have the premium LED backlighting package with local dimming, 3D content still looks good and color seems just as good on this set as the higher end models form LG for 2012. The 3D picture looks less deep than some of the active shutter 3D TVs on the market for sure. Edges are not as crisp on this TV nor is contrast as pronounced as some. But the excellent color rendition makes up for a lot. There is something to LG's claim that people prefer the colors on it compared to Sony and Samsung.
Calibration Notes (click here for our calibrated picture settings): There is something for everyone in the calibration settings on the 55LM7600. We ended up using the 2 point white balance settings rather than going the distance with the new 20 point white balance option. We thought last year's 10 point settings were well and thorough enough, but we came up with a picture that is very close to D6500K while giving just slightly more zip to the color than the standard Cinema setting on the TV. Once you find a setting you like, turning the backlight up or down depending on in-room light conditions is the best way to adjust your settings. Try our calibrated settings for TV and film based material. The general standard settings on the TV are not bad, but do have lots of blue push and wash out flesh tones.
This LG 55LM7600 displays punchy color in this shot from the Blu-Ray of The Fifth Element.
Other Picture Quality Notes
At times some film based content seemed somewhat unstable and shaky. This is usually caused by the internal processor, incompatibility with devices, or 24p conversion.
2D to 3D Conversion Testing
With a push of a button on the remote control you can convert any 2D programming you are watching to 3D. Obviously LG is keen on everyone trying this – thus the dedicated key on the remote. We tried out the 2D to 3D conversion much more extensively with a couple of Blu-Ray discs. There is noticeable improvement in the area and I would say that I could watch an entire movie or program in this mode now, but there was a lot of crosstalk although no blurring. That said, I dont think I would - given the choice. It's difficult to get used to the 3D converted picture – much more so than with 3D originated programming. In some scenes added 3 dimensional depth is very minimal, in others there is more. When there is ambient light incoming from either the left or the right side, I find that there is some sort of interference that causes more crosstalk. Lastly, my eyes feel strange after an extended viewing session. The Passive 3D in this TV may have an advantage over active 3D in the 2D to 3D conversion arena due to the “lighter” processing by the panel to produce the converted 3D picture, but the technology still appears to be a work in process to me.
Intelligent Sensor Picture Setting Testing
When using the Intelligent sensor picture setting the LM7600 automatically senses room light conditions and adjusts the picture accordingly. The backlight then adjusts up and down depending upon what scene is displaying from the programming. I would give the feature a 7 on a 10 point scale which is better than most of these. I did not note any flicker which is a usual negative symptom. The Contrast setting was at 100% during most of my viewing with this settings. Colors were pretty good in this setting, between what you would see in the Standard Picture setting and the Cinema setting. The biggest negative I noted with this setting was the complete loss of dark shadow detail in some darker scenes. It seemed we were watching a silhouette image – deleting any and all detail from foreground dark image in the Blu-Ray Wyatt Erp.
LED Edge Lit Local Dimming
There is an On/Off option for LED local dimming feature. We tested it both ways and our testing notes reflected better performance with this function off (post calibration). There are 3 options to choose from with this setting - High, Medium, and Low. There is very little difference in the Low setting and not using the feature at all. When using the Medium or High option we noted that the picture darkened somewhat especially in darker areas of the picture image. Therefore it hurt dark shadow detail for the most part. I would not use the feature unless you have an almost entirely dark room.
Picture with Standard Definition 480: 8.5/10
We used the included breakout cables from DVD player sources to check out the up-conversion capability of the TV with lowly 480i(p) signals and were very impressed. The picture was clear and good enough quality to think you were watching a 720p HD signal. The only drawback was that the aspect ratio imaging left a little to be desired. I could never quite get comfortable with the letterbox widescreen version of the Tristan and Isolde DVD no matter which aspect ratio I tried. I settled on the Cinema Zoom 1 option. Other aspect ratio choices are 16:9, Zoom (which allows the user to make some adjustments to squeeze or enlarge the picture), 4:3, Just Scan, and Set By Default.
That said, I enjoyed the LM7600's presentation of the standard definition up-converted movie as it added depth to scenes that I had not noticed, stout dark shadow detail, and excellent sound quality enabling me to hear bits of the dialogue previously missed.
Another shot from The Fifth Element shows excellent black levels and picture depth.
The looks of this TV are almost reason enough to justify its price. It has the updated, top end design of the top tier models with exceptionally modern 2000-teens design. The bezel frame is literally not worth measuring at the top and on the sides – let's just call it not even there. The strip of metal we'll call the frame is silver in color on the sides of the panel and it runs about an inch in width across the bottom of the screen.
The depth of the screen is almost as impressive. We measure about 2” at the very bottom where the speakers are housed but barely more than an inch everywhere else and it tapers in the back at the top and sides to give the appearance of being even slimmer – in fact that metal strip is only half an inch in depth on the sides.
The stand is designed to give the 55LM7600 a look of floating on top of the U-shaped base since you cannot see the connection between the two when viewing the TV from front or sides.
And lastly, the screen itself when not on looks like a deep rich black slate of glass. Appearance is one of the standout features of the 55LM7600.
One of the big questions we had about the LM7600 series was whether or not the TV had built in Wifi and a built in Web Browser – two features that sometimes to do reach the 4th Tier. We can now confirm that the 55LM7600 does indeed have both.
Internet Functionality via LG's Smart TV, Built In Web Browser and Built in Wifi
The menu when clicking on the Home option on the remote brings up a very thorough menu of options for Internet use, quick selections for some of the premium Apps as well as a selection for just the Internet itself. I found loading options to be a little on the slow side. The Internet browser option is very easy to use with the full keyboard and fast control through the Magic Remote. However, I did find the TV's processor to run slow on search and changing pages. The You Tube channel worked one day and not the next. The TV got stuck on search and that was it, nothing.
This is a feature within the LM7600 that enables the TV to remember and list all the various Apps you have downloaded and viewed on one convenient page. There is also a dedicated button on the remote to access it quickly.
Pretty cool fun little app that has some proprietary 3D concert programming in both English and Korean, but solely Korean artists.Sounds and looks interesting. Again, the speakers are impressively powerful. However, then a quick search quickly gets you into paid for entertainment – usually .99 each.
You can take a tour around the world with a slideshow from Picasa's impressive photo collections which look awesome on the LM7600.
Gives you a nice sampling of 3D shorts of around 20 to 30 minutes each. There are around 30 or 40 in all of varying interest and quality. The Microworld 3D programming was compelling and interesting both from a visual and intellectual standpoint.
LG's Smart TV Apps as well as 3D World included with the LM7600 series.
NBA Game Time
This App is found in the LG Smart World section and has mixed reviews scoring 2.5 out of 5. My guess is that many of those negative votes came from those that were not able to find the video highlights – which is not that easy. If you are into NBA basketball the App is very useful as you can access video highlights and statistics from every game played for the past week. MLB.tv is much the same format but has not started yet.
Not only was the volume level excellent, we enjoyed this App a lot because once you select an artist you can just let the App roll through all that artists selections on You Tube. It's a nice App to have on as background music.
LG Smart Apps Education - Worthless
I downloaded two free Apps from the LG Smart Apps section – recommended ones at that – Robinson Crusoe, and Animal Farm. They are both farcically bad and useless. They are both readings of these popular books – and not only is the reading poor, it's obviously not even a native English speaking person doing the reading. To make matters worse, the user has to use the remote control to click to the next section every paragraph or two. To compound this worthless effort, LG's menu lists Animal Farm several different times because each App only has a couple of chapters. Robinson Crusoe is split up into 8 different Apps. Obviously, this is just a ploy to be able to claim more Apps than they really have.
Top Paid Apps
One section of the Apps lists the Top Paid Apps. There were only 5 as of this writing. One – Snails Shoe Shop – cost $5 and claimed to nurture English speaking and writing, “Watch as your child grows into a truly global person.” So in essence this and many of the other Apps are created for non-English speaking people.
Magic Remote Ins and Outs
The Magic Remote succeeds last years Magic Wand Remote from LG. We loved it last year, but it came as an additional remote to the normal clicker. The functionality of this years version is similar but there are extra volume and channel controls along with a clicker on the center dial. As well, the remote also has a 5 way control wheel in the center. I found myself using both the pointer and the clicker and 5 way controller – confused at times about which would be faster and easier.
LG's Magic Remote for 2012 is an enigma, but fun (included with the LM7600).
There is no input select button on the remote, so you have to access the menu to select your input – a minor annoyance. There are plenty of aspect ratio options but again, no key on the remote so it takes at least 3 clicks of the remote to get to the aspect options. Conversely, there is a dedicated key on the remote control for converting a 2D picture to 3D or dialing in 3D programming. This LG has made very easy.
The point and click operation for web browsing or keyboard typing certainly saves time over any 5-way controller. But there are other times you might get annoyed with the remote. To me, it seemed that the on-screen arrow disappeared too quickly when adjusting the menu options. When the arrow disappears, you have to wave the remote in front of the TV some until it knows you want the pointer arrow to reappear. It's true that the remote does not easily sit top-up, instead rolling onto its side – at least when you set it down on the couch. Anyway, the bottom line is – you will quickly get used to the Magic Remote and learn to use it (unless you have a universal remote). It will help speed things up when browsing and typing and it's overall very cool even if you might get annoyed with it from time to time.
One of the big questions we had about the LM7600 series was whether or not the TV had built in Wifi and a built in Web Browser – two features that sometimes to do reach the 4th Tier. We can now confirm that the 55LM7600 does indeed have both and they both work well with the Magic Remote.
There are two nice upgrade features in the audio area – a sound optimizer to help sound quality based on the position of the TV, walls, and stands is the first. The second is the Clear Voice II function which enhances the voices of characters on-screen over the normal range and background.
I was very impressed with the sound output. After going through the Online Menu to You Tube and dialing up U2's Electric Storm, I found it necessary to dial the volume all the way down to 10 (out of 100) due to the strong audio output. The speakers on this TV aren't bad at all.
Value Rating: 8/10
At $2199 this is a very attractively priced LED offering. The only things it lacks from the very top tier from LG is the true local dimming LED backlighting. See alternatives models to the right of this page.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|